Motherhood isn’t a one-size-fits-all hat you wear or box you live in. Every woman who nurtures and encourages, listens to and leads, lifts up, bends low, sacrifices much, and shows up for another — mothers.
We’re the moms who hug, dance, and snuggle. We’re the moms who get overwhelmed, whose snarls sometimes come easier than our smiles. We’re the moms who live in the push-pull of exhaustion and joy, in the tumultuous world of feelings and guilt and giving all of ourselves.
We’re the moms who pray our children will fly, while a tiny part of our hearts grieves their flight from us, because we’re the moms who love those children with every fiber of our being. We’re not sure where they end and we begin, but we know we didn’t begin until they arrived.
We’re the moms who work around the clock in a million different ways. Praying. Cooking. Cleaning up. Carpooling to school and dropping off at daycare. Guiding. Loving — always loving. Scolding and worrying. Kissing boo-boos and wiping tears. Breathing deep, in and out, over and over. Chasing their feet and their hearts. Answering emails in the middle of the night. Pulling them back and drawing them in and sending them out. Scrubbing toilets and making beds. Remembering details, packing lunches, signing papers, and pouring out.
We’re the moms who love children we didn’t birth. We’re the neighbors, aunties, sisters, friends, and church grandmas who love these kids as though they’re our own. We snuggle up during the sermon at church to beloved little ones and pass them soft candies to squelch the wiggles. We attend birthday parties and graduations and weddings, bearing gifts for these dear hearts, setting up tables and making food, and then cleaning up at the end of the day.
We rock little babies and help big kids pack for college, tearing up at the thought of them driving away. We light up when our phone dings and it’s a text from that precious high schooler. We read stories and sing songs and carefully choose cards to pop in the mail for every holiday.
We’re the moms who haven’t had a night out in ages and who crave one like oxygen. We run on grace and caffeine. We build a meal off of the scraps pilfered from kids’ plates. We go through more coffee shop drive-thrus than we care to admit. We’re exhausted from being “on” all day at work and coming home to be “on” all night.
We’re the moms who drive through a fast food restaurant for a carton of milk because we’re out at home and just can’t drag ourselves into the actual grocery store. We pay for a latte in change dug out from between the minivan seats. We can’t make it to church without bickering with our family on the drive. We’re consistently seven minutes late to every appointment.
We perpetually lose socks to the washing machine and have been known to purchase new underwear instead of washing the pairs we already own. We take our alone time seriously and guard it fiercely — just like we do our kids.
We’re the moms who long for more. More grace. More patience. More coffee. More time (always more time). More space — in home and heart. More money. More sleep. More Christ in us. More life in our days. More quiet.
At the same time, we’re the moms who long for less. Less laundry. Less fighting. Less yelling. Less clutter. Less selfishness. Less guilt. Less busy. Less stuff. Less dust. Less hustle.
We’re the moms who sit in the hallway in tears during bedtime, drained. The moms who sit in empty houses in tears because there are no more babies to tuck in at bedtime. We’re the moms who ache for those we’ve lost, for those we’ve wanted, for those we’ve asked for, for those whom we’ve begged God about and bruised our knees in earnest prayer. For the babies we couldn’t carry. For the children we’ve lost to heaven and red tape. For the grown children we couldn’t hold onto as they flew our coop to make their lives. For waywards and prodigals and could’ve beens.
We love this life even when we don’t like it very much. We love these kids with all of our being — even when we may not like them very much.
We thank God for the gift of love He gives in the form of sticky hands, flown coops, late nights, early mornings, birthday celebrations, cards in the mail, trips to see each other, texts sent, calls placed, and prayers whispered.
We’re empty and full, exhausted and pressing on. We’re tired from mothering, and we’re grateful for mothering.
We’re these moms.